As often as we find BOGO deals for junk food, it still comes as a surprise that so many nutritional foods are actually fairly cheap and budget friendly. Knowing what to shop for and when to buy is the key.
For instance, buying foods out of season typically necessitates shipping said foods in from other states or countries. The cost of shipping gets added to your food, plus the cost of spoilage on the way. If you buy foods that are in season and local, you’re bound to get a better deal.
Shopping in Season
One example that shows up year after year is strawberries. Out of season, you might pay as much as $5 per pound, but in season they can be purchased for under $3. Other produce is similar and that should always be a key element in deciding what to shop for.
Shopping in season will typically bring you to farmer’s markets and stands. You can find seasonal produce at these vendors and most of their crops will be locally grown (a major plus to your local economy and environmental sustainability).
Farmers offer some of the best deals simply because they actually do mind if their product rots away. Some may even give you samples of produce you’re not familiar with so you can decide to buy it in the future. One of my most memorable trips yielded two full grocery bags of yellow squash and zucchini for under $10 (all organic as well).
Finding good deals on healthy food needn’t be some grand treasure hunt. App developers and conscious consumers have come together to create some handy apps and communities to make it easier to find local deals on fresh food.
Some of my favorites include Farmstand, Locavore and Local Dirt. All three work together with food growers to bring listings to you throughout the year. And don’t think going to the farm means you’ll always need to bring cash; many vendors even use Square on their smartphones so that they can take credit and debit payments.
With the help of apps and the advice of local farmers, you can cement your budget-friendly shopping with a little online research about what foods currently in season best fit your nutritional needs. After all, what good is a bag of food without a recipe to prepare it?
Should you run into any roadblocks trying to find the information you need, there may be some restrictions on your internet connection. You can learn how to circumvent those restrictions here.
All in all, shopping for healthy food without breaking the bank takes some practice. You may still find deals at your supermarket from time to time on healthy foods, but be aware that food on sale at the grocery store usually means it’s about to go bad. Be sure to eat it quickly!
If you need some guidance on eating healthy this year, The Chopping Block's new Clean Eating: Eat to Live guide includes recipes, tips on leading a clean eating lifestyle and a list of pantry staples you'll want to have on hand year-round.